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In Episode 131 of The Legal Paige Podcast, I went solo to chat about growing a legal (and enticing) associate photography program. As a former photographer myself, I have a special place in my heart for all my camera-slingin’ friends who want to grow a sustainable business. IMO, associates are a great place to start because they allow your business to be in multiple places at once WITHOUT adding more to your calendar.
Whether you are new to the entrepreneurship game or a seasoned vet, this episode is going to be extremely helpful in growing your associate program.
What is an associate?
Associates are usually Independent Contractors who are hired by you to represent your business. They can either work alongside you or in place of you (but most end up actually filling the shoes you can’t be in because you are already somewhere else).
Although they are commonly talked about in the photography industry, associate programs are a great model to use for many businesses! For example, let’s say you are a hairstylist: you’ve built up your business doing weddings and events but you really want to ditch working weekends + focus your energy on managing and growing your salon. By hiring associates to do weddings and events FOR your brand, that stream of income will remain intact while you focus on higher-level, CEO duties.
It’s a win/win, right?
Beyond the obvious benefits of having your brand in multiple places at once, hiring associates is also a GREAT way to dip your toes into growing your team without hiring dedicated employees. You’ll be able to delegate, build your business, learn your leadership style, and scale your revenue without the cumbersome details that hiring employees can bring.
In the photography + videography industry, most associates already have an established business and foundation of skills for you to draw from. They LOVE the art of shooting but aren’t quite ready to handle all the marketing, workflows, branding, SOPs, client communication, and sales of their own business.
An associate program gives them the opportunity to work for someone, gain valuable experience in the industry, and do what they love without all the backend work.
How to Make Your Associate Program Legal
You may be sitting there thinking, “I’ve tried to hire an associate in the past, but it was NOT a good experience.” or “My friend just told me a horror story about the associate she recently had to fire!”
As with any business endeavor, there are definitely risks to starting an associate program but the benefits can be truly worth it!
It’s important to make sure you are protected and have your legal bases covered from the VERY beginning of your professional relationship with a new associate. Specifically, you should use an Associate Contract that lays out the duties of the associate, their pay, travel reimbursement, and all your expectations for them. Aside from those kinds of clauses, your contract should also have several non-negotiable clauses that I thoroughly cover in this episode.
More from This Episode
Press play on Episode 131 and find out:
The must-haves your associates need before they join your team.
Signs that your business is ready to bring on associates.
How adding an Associate Program could increase your bottom line.
4 clauses that should be inside EVERY Associate Contract.
My secret for securing associates that WANT to refer your business + work for you long-term.
How to ensure your associates actually complete their obligations
Remember! Before you jump ahead and start implementing your new associate program- it’s important to have a legally legit foundation backing you. Should any legal sticky situation arise with your associate program you want to make sure you are protected. That’s why having a strong contract in place is super important and needs to be one of the first steps you take.